It would be delightful to see your cat wandering home joyously without having to worry about anything. However, it could turn out to be you who begin to worry once you notice the furry pet runs away from your guests. Even though it is not limited to just your guests, cats can become fearful to humans or animals they do not know. In addition, some simple things, such as loud noises, new environments, veterinarians and even children, could easily cower the skittish cats.
As facing the source of their fear or anything they perceive as a threat, the frightening cats would hide under furniture, freeze in their place or suddenly become aggressive. To make it worse, they might not use their litter box as usual and release anal glands and other excretion at a random place.
Regardless of the issue, it is very common to find cats that are scared of strangers. Although it does not happen to most cats, there are several aspects that often contribute to this behavior. Your cat may not have known any human except you. On the other hand, the past dreadful experience with human(s) may shape your cat’s character. Thus, despite your cat still can be gentle toward you, things can be different as she starts to hiss when faced against an unfamiliar face.
The other reason is purely genetic, which makes the concerned cats spend most of their lives in fear. These cats are likely to demand your patience if you want to socialize them with other humans or pets. Therefore, you can follow some tips below to make your fearful cat become friendly to not just only you but other people and animals.
1. Know when your cat is scared and separate the cause
It is greatly important to recognize the sign of terrified felines and to find out the cause at once. Thus, you can conduct these matters and improve your cat’s composure in many conditions.
For instance, your cat would hiss or flee every time your hyperactive nephew come to visit. There were likely several horrifying occasions in the past where your cat received unpleasant treatment from this same person. It may simply because your nephew carelessly picked up the cat in an improper manner. He might also approach the cat in an aggressive way. Once you signify the cause, you can separate your cat whenever your nephew arrives. You can then teach him proper attitude and allow him to make it up to the upset cat when you feel he is ready.
2. Give your cat some time alone
Once you see your cat is bothered and hide under your bed or other furniture, sometimes it is best to leave her just there until she recovers. Forcing your cat out of its hiding place could result in stress and worsen her response to fear. In addition, confronting your cat with the source of its fear is not really helpful. You can help ease her fear, but it needs gradual progress rather than an instant attempt.
If your cat hides in a particular place for a quite long time, make sure you provide food, water and litter box nearby. However, place each one of them relatively far. You may even have to locate the litter box across the food and water—cats in nature do not like eating beside its excretion.
3. Dedicate one room for your cat
Cats are the creatures of habit. Their lives are composed of the same thing. Once cats settle in one specific place, most of them would live there for a lifetime. Therefore, what would happen if they just leave those ‘comfort zones’? Many would stress out and anxious knowing that their surrounding have drastically changed.
Besides the environment, cats can become uneasy about a new owner or because of the alteration in their usual routine. As the result, the friendly cats may turn into a fearful cat in an instant. The best tip to handle these issues is by providing a room for your timid cat. The room should not be too spacious so the cat can have a full grasp of the whole room. It would be better if your cat is the sole inhabitant of this room, leading her to believe that she had found a new territory.
There are other things you should take into account when giving an exclusive room for your cat. Avoid the room that stores many big furniture that can disturb her activities. Choose a room that is not located at the center or in the front of the house. The excessive noises of people and vehicles passing by could annoy your cat. However, silence is not really your cat’s friend. You still need to make her feel less lonely by playing some music or radio if no one home for a while.
Make sure you supply essential things like food, water, litter box and bedding made of a blanket. Block some locations that are possible to become the cat’s hiding place, such as underneath a dresser or bed. Instead, give the cat a spot she can use to observe anyone coming while she can still be safe. A cat tower or simply a cardboard box would be a good escape place for her.
4. Socialize your cat
If you want to change your fearful cat into a friendly one, you should make the cat overcome its fear first. It can be done by socializing her to the thing she is frightened to (i.e. new people, animals or noises). By doing so, you can make her believe that these things are not dangerous or threatening at all. However, it comes with a note that the things involved—in this case, humans and animals—should compromise and be patient through the process.
To make your cat acknowledge new humans, put her around different people every time they come to visit. If your cat is still reluctant to get close, tell your guests to give her treat by placing it near her. Do not feed the cat directly by hand. Remember that these people haven’t had gained your cat’s trust yet. Thus, remain calm without posing any aggressive behavior and wait until the cat is willing to make contact. You could also ask your guests to play a wand toy with your cat.
Besides humans, your cat may become terrified and run away when she stumbles on your other pets or neighbors’. This might be a little difficult since you cannot fully control all of your pets. If they are really trained, things would not be the same. If you have more than one animal in your house, it is better to introduce one at the time. You can befriend both animals indirectly by blending their bodily scent to each other. Stroke the other pet and immediately pet your cat afterward without washing your hand first. Put them in the same place later after several ‘scent blending’ sessions and let them interact with each other.
Some specific noises, such as a vacuum cleaner or pans clanging, may also bother your cat and make her petrified. If this happens, you can place the source of the sound in front of your cat and allow her to approach and smell it. Then let her know where the sound that annoys her comes from. You can also try to make your cat hear the scary sound from far away first. Gradually bring the sound closer and reward your cat with a treat every time she stands the noise.